Eminent climate expert Saleemul Huq passes away in Dhaka

New Delhi: Saleemul Huq, a globally acclaimed climate adaptation science expert and a formidable voice representing the developing world, passed away in Dhaka in Bangladesh on Saturday night, his organisation said.

He was 71 years-old.

Huq was a Bangladeshi-British scientist and Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), and a key member of the COP28 Advisory Committee.

He had been a lead author of the third, fourth and fifth assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and he also advised the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Mourning his death, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said: “We send deepest condolences to the family of Prof Saleemul Huq, one of the world’s greatest climate adaptation science experts. We at UNEP were enriched by his engagement in UNEP hosted World Adaptation Science Program. May he rest in peace.”

Huq made an invaluable contribution to the fields of climate and development for decades.

“He will forever be remembered as a passionate and tireless advocate for the concerns of underserved communities. Not only did he conduct pioneering research on adaptation, but he also worked closely with policymakers both nationally and globally to enact the right policies,” Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy, Climate Action Network International, told IANS.

He said for over a decade, he had the privilege of working side-by-side with him to promote adaptation efforts and demand the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund. “We have lost a formidable voice representing the developing world. His passing is an irreplaceable loss to the global climate community.”

WWF International President Adil Najam wrote on X: “No one, and I mean no one, did more to advance the world’s understanding of climate adaptation or worked harder to highlight the urgency to bring it to the center of global policy. In a year full of shocking news on climate change, this is one of the most shocking of all to me.”

According to the ICCCAD, Huq was Professor at the Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) as well as Associate of the International Institute on Environment and Development (IIED) in the United Kingdom.

In addition, he was the Chair of the Expert Advisory Group for the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and also Senior Adviser on Locally Led Adaptation with Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) headquartered in the Netherlands.

He had published hundreds of scientific as well as popular articles and was recognized as one of the top twenty global influencers on climate change policy in 2019 and top scientist from Bangladesh on climate change science.

Recently, he has been appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to combating international climate change.


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